George V. Reilly

Review: Cymbeline

Title: Cymbeline
Director: Vince Brady
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Released: 2016
Keywords: Shake­speare, comedy
Watched: 31 July, 2016

I'm familiar with most of Shake­speare's plays, but not only had I never seen Cymbeline before today, I knew nothing about it. While the per­for­mance we saw was enjoyable, I began to see why it's one of the lesser-known plays. It's one of Shake­speare's later, minor comedies, with such familiar elements as a cross­dress­ing heroine, confused and separated lovers, false ac­cu­sa­tions of infidelity, stolen princes, a knavish villain who gets his come­up­pance, and a loyal servant. It's easy to see a tired Shake­speare trotting out yet another comedy to amuse the groundlings.

We saw the Greenstage production at the scenic Lake Wilderness continue.

Review: Shakespeare in an Hour

Title: Shake­speare in an Hour
Author: Christo­pher Baker
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Smith & Kraus
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 112
Keywords: drama, history
Reading period: 28 July–1 August, 2010

Quick, readable intro to Shake­speare's life and plays, setting him in the context of the religious and political turmoils of the late Eliz­a­bethan and early Jacobean eras. You can't do justice to Shake­speare in an hour, of course, Most useful if you didn't already know anything about him or his work.

Titus Andronicus

I saw Green­stage's production of Titus Andronicus on Sunday night. Normally, this is Shake­speare's bloodiest tragedy, but Greenstage chose to play it as a dark comedy. It's still bloody, extremely bloody, blood everywhere, spurting from severed wrists, spraying from cut throats, shooting over the stage (and some of the audience).

The first twenty minutes were very confusing. The actors spoke their lines very quickly and I had a hard time tuning in to what they were saying and what was happening. Then either they slowed down or I tuned in, but it started making sense, inasmuch as Titus Andronicus can ever make sense.

I've seen Greenstage do comedies and straight tragedies. Here they hammed it continue.

Comedy of Errors

I mentioned three weeks ago that I was putting together a group of people to see Greenstage's production of Shake­speare's Comedy of Errors at the Seward Park Am­phithe­ater. Six of us braved the rain last night, ate our picnic, and enjoyed an hour and a half of ribald slapstick.

Almost all of the cast cross-dressed. The main male parts, the two sets of identical twin brothers, were played by women, The wife, her sister, and the courtesan were played by ugly men in the best panto dame tradition.

The play, like so many of Shake­speare's comedies, requires an endless series of confused identities, which could be cleared up in moments if only continue.

Shakespeare in the Park: Comedy of Errors

Greenstage continue their Shake­speare in the Park this year with per­for­mances of King John and Comedy of Errors at a number of Seattle-area parks over the summer. Emma and I enjoyed their Twelfth Night at Seward Park last year. Best of all, it's free!

The play starts at 7:00pm. Come at 5:00 and have a picnic with us near the Am­phithe­ater. Bring food that's ready to eat—the Seward Park PCC is less than a mile away. There's some seating but you might want to bring your own chairs.

If you come even earlier, Seward Park is worth a trip in its own right. Old growth forest trails and a 2.5 continue.

Henry IV

I've slowly been working my way through Shake­speare's Kings (rec­om­mend­ed), so when I realized that Henry IV was playing at the Seattle Shake­speare Company, I decided to go. It's an adaptation of Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2.

Henry IV usurped the crown from his cousin Richard II. The crown sits uneasily upon his head, rebellion is brewing, and his heir, Prince Hal (the future Henry V), is a wastrel who carouses with thieves like the fat rogue Falstaff. Hal, Falstaff, Henry IV, and Harry Hotspur (the rebel leader) are the central characters in this play. Hal's dis­so­lu­tion is compared un­fa­vor­ably to Hotspur's chivalry. He must redeem himself in his continue.

The Scottish ... Opera

My opera education continues. Tonight, we saw Seattle Opera's production of Verdi's MacBeth.

I used to be very familiar with Shake­speare's MacBeth, having studied it for two years in prepa­ra­tion for the Leaving Cer­tifi­cate (the major ex­am­i­na­tion at the end of Irish secondary school; ef­fec­tive­ly the entrance exam for university).

Verdi's opera of MacBeth truncates Shake­speare's plot, con­cen­trat­ing on the tragic flaw of the MacBeths. Their shared ambition, feeding off each other, both impels them to power, and leads to their ultimate downfall. The opera was written during the Risorg­i­men­to, when Italy was trying to break away from the Austrian empire, and doubles as a thinly veiled appeal to Italian patriotism.

I had more fun continue.